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DOT Takes Action For Winter Storm

February 28, 2012, 7:16 AM by Austin Hoffman

DOT Takes Action For Winter Storm

South Dakotans haven't had much of a winter this year.  But with possibly one of the largest storms soon upon us, the Department of Transportation has its work cut out.

The DOT has been preparing for days and it's not just snow they're worried about. From the southern to northern border of South Dakota, conditions could vary immensely.

Each storm has its own set of variables and challenges. Craig Smith with the Department of Transportation said the biggest obstacle will be freezing rain.

"The real critical thing is you want to get that chemical on the road before it sticks or you get that compaction on there and it can come off later," Smith said.

He also says if you put it down too early and it starts to rain, it can all be washed off. Parts of the state are also looking at around a foot of snow, which brings it own set of challenges.

"Particularly, if it's a warmer event, it could be heavy snow.  You start looking at, are you going to need blowers or what type of equipment are you going to need? Is your equipment operating and that's a thing you look at a day or two before these types of storms?" Smith said.

One of the biggest problems they have is when wind picks up and creates white-out conditions.

"In those low visibilities, people really need to be aware that the snow plows are out there, and if they are, they're going to be driving at a lower rate of speed so they can plow," Smith said.

And even though it's been a fairly light winter for the DOT, Smith says they are more than ready to hit this storm head on.

"We've been out there enough that we've got a handle on where our equipment problems are, got that equipment operating and got any of our new drivers trained so were definitely ready to go for the storm equipment and manpower wise," Smith said.

Smith also says plows do not operate in rural areas 24 hours a day. And if you don't need to travel, it's best to just stay home.

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